Michigan Shakespeare Festival 'Season of Rebellion' for 2016

The Michigan Shakespeare Festival has announced its 2016 season, a Season Of Rebellion. The choices include Shakespeare's As You Like It and Richard II, and Karen Tarjan's critically- acclaimed adaptation of Michael Shaara's Pulitzer Prize-winning Civil War novel, The Killer Angels.

Producing Artistic Director Janice L Blixt revealed the line-up of plays from the stage of the Village Theatre in Canton before a packed Midsummer audience, drawing gasps and applause. "Each year we try to challenge ourselves," Blixt told the crowd. "For 2016, we're expanding our mission with an adaptation that is Shakespearean in scope."

Blixt, who helmed this season's epic Henry IV, will direct this Michigan-premiere of The Killer Angels, which tells the story of the Battle of Gettysburg, in July and August of 2016, 153 years after the battle itself. The play premiered at Lifeline Theatre in Chicago in 2004, and is described thus:

It's the third summer of the Civil War. General Robert E. Lee leads the Army of Northern Virginia into the North and the Army of the Potomac has no choice but to pursue. Over the course of three historic days, beside campfires and amidst firefights, a remarkable group of soldiers wrestle with their doubts, their fears, and their hopes for a shattered nation. Cemetery Hill, Culp's Hill, Little Round Top, and Pickett's Charge come to vibrant life through the indelible stories of the men who fought these legendary battles.

The announcement came the day that tickets for the 2016 MSF season went on sale.

"As we continue to grow as part of the Michigan cultural scene, we want to broaden the reach of the stories we tell," says Blixt. "That includes adaptations of great works of literature set in the past. We are a classical company, and this is a classical story that is also very much a part of our history. The script is both epic, and extremely personal. Like Julius Caesar or Henry V, The Killer Angels is so immediate, so very real, it feels like Shakespeare."

The Killer Angels joins Shakespeare's brilliant comedy As You Like It and his timely exploration of leadership and duty, Richard II. MSF Artistic Associate Robert Kauzlaric, director of 2014's Wilde Award-winning Cymbeline, will direct As You Like It. Artistic Director Blixt, who has won multiple Wilde Awards for both Best of the Bard and Best Comedy, will direct both Richard II and The Killer Angels.

The official Shakespeare Festival of the State of Michigan, the MSF has expanded to a second location this year, performing both in its longtime home at Jackson's Baughman Theatre and now at the Village Theatre in Canton. The Canton performances of A Midsummer Night's Dream, Henry IV, and The Rivals continue through August 16th.

Tickets for the 2016 season are on sale exclusively at the MSF website, www.michiganshakespearefestival.com. From now until September 1st, season passes are on sale at two-for-one prices. The Killer Angels is expected to sell out, so purchase tickets soon!

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